The 1970’s comedy Fawlty Towers parodied the standards of hotels in the UK at the time but ever since, travellers the world over have compared their holiday hotels to ‘something out of Fawlty Towers, despite the show being almost forty years old and before the day of many of today’s travellers.
You can see the inspiration for each sketch in complaints that surface today, for example ‘Call that a sea view’ recalls the moment when a guest complains that she ordered a room with a sea view and had to have it pointed out that ‘It’s there madam, between the land and the sky.’ So how many of our complaints are justified and how many others are just people being picky or having different standards?
Hotel star ratings are meant to be a guide for travellers as to what to expect from their accommodation but every now and again you find one that shouldn’t have received the rating it had. It’s often a better judge of a hotel’s rating to look at the stars awarded by people who’ve actually stayed there but then how much of that is open to abuse?
Recently, the holiday review site Trip Advisor came in for criticism in failing to prevent manipulation of the reviews on their website. Hotels were paying people hundreds of pounds to write fake positive reviews of their hotels and at the same time write negative reviews of competitors. In these harsh economic times, a few extra customers gained because of good reviews can mean the difference between financial success and financial ruin and perhaps the hotel is good but just not receiving the reviews.
One hotelier I spoke to in Cyprus was desperate for reviews on Trip Advisor. He sat on a committee formed from hoteliers in his resort and had discovered the value of positive reviews from his peers – they had dozens of reviews on their hotel websites whilst he had just two. Whilst both his were positive, the small number meant that he was still not winning business. He’d been offered the chance to pay for reviews but had decided, however tempting it was, to be honest and instead plead with guests to write reviews. He was even considering asking them to use the hotel’s computer to write a review on their last day so he could ensure it was done and in exchange offered a complementary lunch or bottle of local wine!
Many hotel managers and their staff go out of their way to ensure their guests have an enjoyable holiday and in return appreciate feedback. If there’s a problem during the stay it should be reported immediately and only if it remains a problem should negative posts be made. In tough times, these people are trying to make a living like the rest of us and if they’ve helped us, don’t they deserve a few minutes of our time in return?